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Submitted by Steven ODell on 9 July 2007 - 1:00am.

Chapter 11

The meeting with Baylor Sims was interesting, to say the least. He was a small and unimposing man, about five feet, four inches in height and of stout build. He spoke softly and had a pleasant demeanor, not at all the image of a pit bull as they’d been told. He listened attentively, as though a life depended on it. Many times he asked questions and took notes. His eyes were friendly, but intense in their gaze and giving Denise the feeling they could pierce through steel plate to discover the secrets hidden behind it. Rather than making her uncomfortable, Denise felt more assured than before. She felt in her bones that this was the man to defend them, to attack for them and to win for them.

At one point Sims put his tablet down and suggested, “Why don’t we all take a breather? Would anyone care for some refreshments?” He smiled amiably.

A nod and appreciative thank-you’s urged him to his feet and he went to the next room, to return momentarily with a plate of cookies, some drinking glasses and a pitcher of fruit punch. “Pardon the meager fare. This has been a busy morning and I’ve had no time to shop.”

As they partook of the treats, they engaged in small talk for a short while, but soon enough Sims was again asking pointed and relevant questions regarding the business at hand. He announced at one point, “I’ll take this case, if you’ll have me. What amazes me is that anyone could doubt your innocence with such a preponderance of evidence in your favor. I’ll need to verify it all, of course, but this should be very interesting and a lot of fun if we play it right. A lot may depend on the judge that we get to hear the case, but I have confidence that will be no problem.” He had a hint of impish grin that suggested some childish prank he was about to delight in.

The lovers readily accepted his offer to represent them in court and as the interview was about to end Debra asked abruptly, “May I speak privately with you a moment, Mr. Sims?”

Baylor Sims took it in stride, even looking rather pleased at the thought. “Would you excuse us?” he asked politely and saw Ron and Denise to the adjacent room, inviting them to sit and enjoy his study. He closed the door and left them staring at one another in mute puzzlement.

“Now, Mrs. Payton…what may I do for you?”

“Call me Debra, please.” She smiled and Sims nodded and smiled back happily at the invitation. “You mentioned your concern about getting the right judge. I don’t like to leave anything to chance if I can tilt things more in my favor. I have some information you may find interesting and helpful, as I think you are the kind of man that knows how to use it to its best ends.” She smiled like the cat that ate the canary and Sims couldn’t help but smile at the thought that she might wish to involve him in this intrigue.

“Do tell me more, Debra.”

Debra shared the information she had been harboring and when she had finished, Sims was grinning like a Cheshire cat and fairly laughing with glee. “This is wonderful, Debra. Absolutely wonderful.” He was on his feet with excitement and looked as if he would soon begin to dance a jig around the room as he wrung his hands in delight at the news. Debra began to involuntarily laugh at the antics and thought how he looked so like a leprechaun in his behavior. It was all so delightful.

Several minutes later Sims and Debra fairly exploded through the set of double doors that led to the study, bursting into the room as sunshine into darkness. They were positively exuberant.

Sims told the still bewildered couple, “Now don’t you worry at all. This is in the bag, I assure you. You promise me to get a good night’s sleep and do whatever it is that newlyweds do, alright?” He winked meaningfully and Denise shot Debra a look that could have drawn blood.

Debra let it roll off her back with a ‘don’t look at me’ attitude and grabbed them by the arms to herd them toward the door as though they were children. “Come now, we have a lot to do and so does Mr. Sims.” And that was the end of that. Or was it just the beginning, Denise wondered.

Ron knew that Sims was right. He had been thinking it himself and didn’t know how to broach the subject with all of the stresses and challenges the couple had been wading through. What was needed now was for the newlyweds to start acting like newlyweds again. It might seem forced in their present states of mind, but it was the one remedy that would work completely and not hurt emotionally.

As Ron pulled up to the house and got out to open the doors of the car for the ladies, Debra winked and nodded while mouthing the word ‘bedroom’. Her sly smile was too evident in its meaning for him to mistake and he nodded silently back to her, mouthing the words, ‘Yes, ma’am’ and winking at her in return. She, too, knew what was the prescribed remedy for this illness.

“The door closed behind them and brief pleasantries were exchanged, with Debra excusing herself and apologizing for being so tired and at so early a time of day. “I think I’ll take a nap, if you don’t mind. Perhaps you are as tired as I am. Maybe you should take a nap, too.”

Denise stared suspiciously as her mother turned without further adieu and went to her room in the opposite direction from theirs. When Debra had disappeared, Denise turned to give Ron a look of ‘what was that all about’ and he simply responded, “She’s right. I am a bit tired. Care to join me, Mrs. Jameson?”

The look on his face was subtle, but the intent of the conspirators was now unmistakable to her, too. Denise smiled only half-heartedly, but surrendered to the common sense of the majority, grabbed Ron by the hand and actually led the way to the bedroom, closing the door behind them. “You win. You’ve always been my weakness. You may even be my sanity right now.”

“Maybe a good tranquilizer, too, if we are lucky.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me a bit, Mr. Jameson. So, what does the doctor have in mind for his patient?” She locked eyes with him, a worn look and no hint of a smile, and began to undo the buttons of her blouse.

“Let’s just say that this treatment won’t require you to wear a dressing gown.” He could now see that she was disconnected from this little game.

“Ooooh, doctor, it all sounds so….” She was trying to play along for his sake, but found no words to finish. She was too weary to care. Her heart and mind were not in it.

“Exactly. So….” He held her close to simply comfort her, with no agenda now but to reconnect with her emotionally and for her to get a good night's sleep.

“Administer the procedure when you’re ready. Just be gentle, okay?”

Ron thought, this can wait. Tonight I will just hold her. If anything more takes place, it will only be because she wants to.

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